If you’ve got some quality rider clothing that keeps you both warm and dry, then chances are if it’s not Gore-Tex then is could well be a similar type of thing that has been ‘inspired’ by said branded material.
Robert W Gore’s discovery of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) in the 1960s while working for the family business paved the way for the creation of the material that became known as Gore-Tex. Invented in the early 1970s, Gore-Tex technology was described to me many years ago at a motorcycle trade event as basically a material full of tiny holes that were too small to let rain drops in, but small enough to let sweat out. Basically, waterproof yet breathable.
Robert Gore was born on 15 April 1937 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the eldest of five children. His father Bill and mother Vieve Gore, founded WL Gore & Associates. He gained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and a master’s degree and PhD in chemical engineering.
Working with fluoropolymer PTFE and serving the cable and wire industry, in 1969, the company’s technology landed on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission. In 1976, Robert succeeded his father as president and chief executive of Gore.
Gore-Tex arguably revolutionised the outdoor and rainwear industry and with the family company patenting the product and then licensing it’s use, WL Gore & Associates became a billion dollar business. Walkers, riders, adventurers, scooterists, motorcyclists, emergency services and more the world over, have used the product in clothing of some shape or form.
In 2000 Robert stepped down as president of WL Gore & Associates. During his career he received several awards for his contributions to science. He also won the praise of hundreds of thousands of riders around the globe for helping us all to keep on going, warm and dry, until we reached our journey’s end.
Robert sadly passed away last week at the age of 83 at the family home in Maryland, USA after prolonged illness. Thank you Robert Gore and rest in peace.
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